Today’s 6.1 aftershock in Haiti doesn’t faze UPS volunteer Craig Arnold. “No problem for me and my roommates. On the way to the clinic, school and command center to assess,” he e-mails at 6 a.m. Since last Friday, Craig has been in Port-au-Prince as a volunteer for the Salvation Army. It’s his sixth trip in five years.
Much of his days are spent dodging the debris and chaos of Haiti’s streets to retrieve relief supplies that are now arriving at the airport. In his real life in Northern California, Craig is a UPS sales director. In Haiti, he’s a driver and a logistics coordinator.
On Tuesday, Craig writes, “I spent most of the day at the airport. I picked up 7 rescue workers and their supplies and then five doctors and disaster recovery leaders.”
At the airport “we are allowed to simply drive on the grass next to the runway after we clear one check point. This makes the pickups safer…the front of the airport is not guarded and this is where you see some violence. We just drive right through and do all our business with the full protection of the 82nd Airborne,” he writes nonchalantly.
“Even though we are still doing mostly small planes, we do have a 20-foot truck and today we almost filled it with supplies. On Wednesday, we are expecting a whopper shipment of water and food.” That’s a far cry from earlier in the week when the military was just getting the airport secure and flights were few and far between because of the inoperable traffic control center. In those days, Craig’s emails and phone calls were full of frustration about the ever growing need and the tiny trickle of supplies.
Now at the Salvation Army Headquarters, the grounds are a hive of activity. Children and families are sleeping on the lawn (a baby was born earlier this week on some of the lawn furniture). A medical clinic is operating and a feeding center has been established. “The clinic has seen more than 452 patients in 2 days and is going great. In fact, other clinics are asking about bringing their wounded to us…we did a small feeding. Nothing like the 10,000 yesterday. We hope for one of those again tomorrow.” That feeding is dependent on a replenishment of the supplies that still are erratic.
On Monday, 8 doctors and 4 nurses arrived. “Normally we operate the clinic with one doctor and 3 nurses. The team of 8 doctors and 4 nurses includes 2 surgeons. They are all arriving on small private planes. They saw over 100 people in the first two hours. They triage in the playground and the worst cases end up in the Coleman tent.”
Craig seems to have put aside the horrors that he’s witnessed on the streets of Haiti. Now, he’s focused on the job at hand…get relief supplies distributed to the people in the most efficient way possible.
His only hesitation: “I need to do a lot of loading and unloading today. My back is older than I’d like it to be.”
|Category:||Caring for Communities|
|Tags:||distribution, global disaster relief, Haiti, logistics, planning, Salvation Army|